Wednesday 23 May 2018

Eurovision shows off our new national brand: homosexuality

Ryan O'Shaughnessy's rendition of Together showed we can camp it up with the big boys, writes Donal Lynch

Ryan O’Shaughnessy and dancers Alan McGrath and Kevin O'Dwyer on stage in Lisbon. Picture: Andres Poveda
Ryan O’Shaughnessy and dancers Alan McGrath and Kevin O'Dwyer on stage in Lisbon. Picture: Andres Poveda
Donal Lynch

Donal Lynch

We've still got it, Europe. That, mainly, was what Eurovision 2018 seemed to prove. Economists talk earnestly about wage increases or housing being the last piece of the recovery puzzle, but those in the know understand that Ireland will never be back where she was until she can power ballad the rest of the continent into submission, as she did in the 1990s.

Regardless of Israel getting the most points last night, Skerries boy Ryan O'Shaughnessy gave us a clear moral win - though technically he finished 16th. A Sam Smith-lite vocal, two male dancers pirouetting as a same-sex couple on a fake Ha'penny Bridge, and the resultant worldwide hoo-ha, all proved that in 2018 Ireland is not just some sad Brexit victim or a tourist theme park.

Campness-wise we can still match the big boys stride for stride. Our light entertainment mojo is back. When it comes to kitsch, we can once again hold our heads up high on the world stage. National pride has been restored. In a sense, too, we could be perversely grateful to the Chinese. They weren't in a position (yet) to offer the precious douze points but they did fulfil an important role that was taken by Israel in 1998 and Vladimir Putin in 2014 - that of appalled granny who didn't get the memo that this is actually the biggest LGBT festival on earth.

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